Friday, June 15, 2007

Maximize your odds of business failure

The rate of failure for any startup business is pretty high. It takes a lot of hard work, countless hours, more money than most people have, and produces a ton of stress. If you'd like to increase your odds of failure and toss your dreams of business ownership into the trash, here's a sure fire way to do it: open a video store. Better yet, open a VHS-only video store.

Two things are guaranteed to happen when you open a video store. First, you are going to have very few customers and will not see an actual profit until you are drowning in debt. Second, as soon as you start turning a profit, Blockbuster is going to move in next door.

A video store near me ended up moving to a better location after many years of business. Blockbuster opened up across the street and you can imagine what happened. They didn't last more than a couple of months. I don't particularly like Blockbuster, so I went into the independent shop once. All they rented were in VHS format. I understand trying to establish a niche market, but this one just isn't there. There's a reason Hollywood Video started selling their VHS tapes at $0.50 a piece instead of renting them; those rentals weren't providing any profit.

I wanted to rent there, but could not see renting a VHS over a DVD. To be perfectly honest, the only redeeming feature about my VHS player is that it has a clock on the front that sets itself. Since it has a clock, and I don't want to buy another clock, I have yet to throw it away. I don't actually have any VHS movies, nor a desire to acquire any, but I just can't justify throwing away a perfectly good no-maintenance clock.

Anyway, another entrepreneur decides that after watching the independent video store go down in flames and Blockbuster take over, it would be a great idea to open his own VHS-only store right down the street. I'm not really sure what this person was thinking, but within 3 months the new video store had a "For Lease" sign out front.

If you are thinking about opening a video store, don't.


Maria said...

That's a pretty BIG clock. LOL.

Jim said...

I think the days of video stores and renting directly from them will slow. It used to be a good deal to go to a video store and pay a few bucks for a couple movies as long as you got them all back in 2 or 3 days. I would always go on Wednesdays for the $1 deal. Now these video stores charge you 2-3 times what they used to, but you can keep them for a week, so what? The internet is changing the way things work. Netflix and even Blockbuster online are great concepts. I think one day we will get to the point where movies could be streamed through the internet instead of having to even resort to a DVD period.

Mercedes Lopez said...

Checkout and cinemanow; both allow you to download movies for rent or purchase. And their prices are about the same for renting at a store. They only allow 24 hour viewing though and it takes a hefty conection to even consider renting a movie there but it beats having to drive also the added benefit of not having to drive back to return it.

You can also use youtube for video entertainment; nothing beats that, the sheer amount of crap available for viewing :)